I was wondering if there is a word used to describe someone who starts arguments just because they get enjoyment/satisfaction out of it. And I don't mean a friendly debate I mean actual arguments, like a fight. I feel like there is a word for it but I can't think of it and if there is no word then I am going to make one for it :). P.S. "Devil's Advocate" is not the word I am looking for.

  • 4
    – Drew
    Mar 3, 2017 at 1:16
  • An “argument clinician” especially those who argue on their spare time.
    – Jim
    Mar 3, 2017 at 2:25
  • An instigator
    – fixer1234
    Mar 3, 2017 at 2:27
  • Are you looking for a noun or an adjective? We'll get closer to your meaning if you edit in an example sentence of where you'd use the word, with a ___ where the word would go. If you're open to adjectives, there are a lot to choose from—belligerent, pugnacious, contentious, combative, fighty, etc.—so you might want to add more details to help narrow it down.
    – 1006a
    Mar 3, 2017 at 3:01
  • 1
    obnoxious or better yet, asshole.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 3, 2017 at 6:05

5 Answers 5


I'll tell you what I use.

See firebrand defined by Merriam Webster as

one that creates unrest or strife (as in aggressively promoting a cause)

There are also simple words such as agitator, trouble maker, rabble-rouser.


It may not quite be the word you are looking for, but pretty close...


It means inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome.


A contrarian is someone who takes an opposing view, especially for the sake of being difficult, contentious or in opposition to the generally held view.

  • Welcome to English Language and Usage. Please take the tour and when you have a moment, read-up in the help center about how we work. A good first post which would benefit from linked references to support your claim. Apr 7, 2020 at 20:15

A provocateur is:

a person who provokes trouble, causes dissension, or the like; agitator.

according to dictionary.com.

There is a lively discussion of the etymology at Did Emma Goldman first use the term “provocateur”?.


That would be a disputatious person. As Merriam-Webster explains

Disputatious people like to provoke arguments or find something to disagree about.

and it defines disputatious as

1a: inclined to dispute

b: marked by disputation

2: provoking debate : CONTROVERSIAL

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